Mental Health…..A Reason for the Seasons

Bernadette Joy Graham, MA, LPCC, LLC

A Mental Health Moment

By Bernadette Joy Graham, MA, LPCC, LLC
The Truth Contributor 

 If you are feeling better, you can thank the sun, the greenery, buds on the trees and the fact that winter boots and heavy coats are no longer needed due to the seasonal change.  Year after year, many Midwesterners suffer with Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD), a/k/a, the winter blues.  For those of us in helping professions are also feeling better as our schedules are not overbooked, we are not overworked and that our clients are smiling again.

The month of May brings the hallmark of spring even though our 2024 calendar marked the first day of Spring in March.  Graduations, proms, weddings, end of school years and travel take precedence.  I am certainly not complaining nor are my readers but let us not forget life happens regardless of the season, weather change or celebrations.  Our expectations are life will continue as planned, that is if you have one; some choose to just allow life to happen.  I say live how you wish; it is your life.  Either way it will end one day or night, however long or short.

There are moments we wish could last forever like falling in love, vacationing on a beach, or celebrating that win.  There are moments that seem to last forever that we wish never occurred such as experiencing a broken heart, the long ride home after a loss and enduring consequences of a badly made choice.

I have shared many moments with clients over the years of providing mental health therapy; some have been joyful and others quite sorrowful.  I have also lived my own life moments of the same.  Many individuals see healthcare providers as living a most blissful life clear of issues, problems, or concerns. Unfortunately, that is not the case.  If it were, we would lack empathy, care, or concern for those we help.

We are all human beings with feelings, emotions, wants, needs, responsibilities, and obligation to follow rules and laws as any other citizen.  For example, I received an expensive speeding ticket this past Valentine’s Day. I was sure the officer would let me go with a warning, I am a woman and I even have military veteran status license plates. It was not my first speeding ticket in all my years of driving, but flowers or chocolates would have been preferred.       Nevertheless, I did not expect to receive neither of those either being a single woman.  While this story became a joke with my colleagues and friends in the days following, as in “ha ha the only thing I received on Valentine’s Day this year was a speeding ticket” it also reminded me that while I spend the majority of my time helping others which I genuinely enjoy, it does not and will not spare me the ups and downs of being a human being.

Honestly, it was the down part of my life which led me to pursue this career choice.  I am positive when asked many years ago at the age of 10 “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, my answer was not a mental health therapist.”

My dear readers, at this point you are asking yourself how does coming out of winter blues,

spring activities, Valentine’s Day speeding tickets and my personal career choice have to do with mental health? And the answer is……EVERYTHING.

Take a mental health moment and ask yourselves, how you were affected by the winter blues, what was your coping mechanism, how many times did you feel you were losing it, couldn’t take another moment of whatever challenges you faced and wanted to give up, made some bad choices that caused consequences you may still be paying for in money or time. But all that is behind you because May flowers preceded by those April showers have you smiling again, falling back in love, or at least looking (hopefully in all the right places).

I will assume most if not all have heard the statement, “a reason, a season or a lifetime.” Our mental health is the one true gauge we carry throughout our lifetime. If you are receiving mental healthcare or at least have a therapist, please do not abandon either with the reason of feeling better due to the springtime season. If you are not receiving mental healthcare or do not have a therapist, please begin the process. Do not assume life will give you a warning even on the most loving day of the year.

I often hear people say they cannot afford mental health; they do not need it because they are simply fine and can work out things on their own or they tried it once and it was not helpful.   While no one needs mental health therapy every week of the year and yes it can be costly but there are options to meet your needs, seasons change, life is not fair, none of us have all the answers.

I have never met a perfect human being nor will any of us, they do not exist.  We all have the option and choice to become the best versions of ourselves regardless of what life throws at us and it all depends on our mental health.   Keep going to the gym, eating healthily, and attending church, just do not forget to get and keep your mind right.  If you do not know where to start, here are some helpful tips:

Contact your insurance carrier if you have insurance.  If you do not have insurance reach out to Jobs and Family Services, or ask the health provider if they offer a sliding fee, meaning you may not be able to afford their hourly rate but many provide a lower fee.

Ask your primary care provider for names/contacts for mental health care providers.

Bernadette Joy Graham, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and Certified Grief Recovery Specialist can be reached via Email:

If you feel you may be in a mental health crisis, please call 988 or go to the nearest emergency room.